The New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) is a union fighting for structural change in the taxi driving industry, ranked by the Department of Labor as the most dangerous job in the country. Founded in 1998 by members of the Lease Drivers Coalition (LDC), an advocacy project of the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV), the NYTWA supports individual drivers by providing comprehensive services and advocating for economic justice, safety, and health rights.
Since its founding, the NYTWA has increased taxi drivers’ incomes by 35-45% and has fought to implement the first-ever Living Wage standard for US taxi drivers, which it won in 2004. Other victories include negotiating the inclusion of taxi drivers in 9/11 federal disaster assistance; recovering lost income due to unlawful license suspensions; changing numerous anti-worker policies and regulations governing the taxi industry; and providing discounted or pro bono legal, financial management, and health services.
The NYTWA currently has over 17,000 members, a majority of whom are South Asian, and has been led since its founding by Executive Director Bhairavi Desai.
Containing minutes and agendas from its organizing committee, strategy documents, legal case files, flyers, posters, photographs, membership forms, driver surveys, and press kits, the NYTWA Records offer rich historical documentation of a dynamically active labor union’s fights for “justice, rights, respect, and dignity” for its members through legal advocacy and strategic, collective action.
To learn more about the contents of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance Records, located at the NYU Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, view the collection’s finding aid.